Thando Hopa photographed by Hannes Danzfuss
Growing up in the township of Soweto in South Africa, Refilwe Modiselle, 27, knew she was different. 'I live in the skin of a white person,' South Africa's first albino model told Grazia in an interview published this week.
In many African countries people with albinism are believed to have mystical healing powers and have become vitims of 'muti' or medicine killings. Between 2006 and 2012 71 people are beleived to have been kidnapped, mutilated or murdered for their organs in Tanzania alone. 'I never thought I'd be a model' says Refilwe, who was recently signed as the face of South African label LEGiT, and has walked the catwalk at South African fashion week.
Other models helping to break down the boundaries around albinism are American model, Diandra Forrest who is signed by Elite and South African, Thando Hopa, 23 an albino model and lawyer who grew up in Johannesburg. 'It was only when one of SA's foremost designers asked me to consider modelling for him that I decided to give it a try,' Thando says, 'and it has changed my outlook. I now realise that I have a platform to inspire young girls, and as someone who never had a role model who looked like me when I was growing up, I now hope to be able to show that albinism can be beautiful and is just another kind of normal.'
Read the full article in this week's Grazia